I have never pre-ordered a book three months before its release date before, which tells you just how excited I was to read this. Like many other female wrestling fans for more than four years, I followed AJ Lee’s career, I wore the jorts, the knee high Converse and lived the change that she created in the world of professional wrestling.
AJ was an inspiration to many young wrestling fans, but two years after her retirement from the sport that she revolutionised, she released “Crazy Is My Superpower.” The UK obviously received the book a little later than the rest of the world, but when my copy arrived yesterday, I couldn’t put it down.
You think that because you watch someone on TV every week for three years that you knew them when in actual fact, there was so much more to AJ Lee than anyone truly knew. AJ’s story is raw and complete, she talks about her upbringing as the youngest of three children to quite young parents in New Jersey, and her struggles to cope with being a poor family in a poor neighbourhood.
She talks about the health problems that bothered her from the day she was born, the problems she faced with a mother who was misdiagnosed with depression and later discovered to have bipolar, a disease that AJ would later reveal that she suffered with as well.
Despite all of her struggles, her accidental overdose and always feeling the need to look after her own parents, AJ still had dreams of her own. She was a 12-year-old girl who wanted to be a superhero and to her wrestlers were superheroes.
It was a long journey from the homeless little girl to the woman who skipped into the hearts of the WWE Universe more than a decade later. She speaks throughout the book with such honesty, not only about her ordeal but about WWE and the perception that they had of all their female talent.
AJ was the first woman to walk into WWE and be something different, this is why the WWE Universe attached themselves to her because she was a beacon of change and a beacon of hope. When she became the longest reigning Divas Champion it was thought that WWE were finally admitting that she was the change that they wanted in the company, only for them to default back to Nikki Bella.
Shockingly it seems that AJ pulls her punches in the book and rather than calling out the women who accepted that they were there to be sex objects, she talks about the way that women should see other women, the way men should treat other women and basically, the way that we should all respect one another.
AJ isn’t WWE’s usual yes man, she proved that she would stand up for what was right and wasn’t scared of the repercussions. The book mentions at the beginning that if you fake it enough then people will blindly follow you. Well AJ, whether you were faking it or not we blindly followed you throughout your career and whether WWE is willing to admit it or not, you were the beginning of the Women’s Revolution.
You’re a woman who doesn’t see any of her problems as reasons to quit, you achieved all of your dreams in spite of them and are still ready to stand up and raise awareness when it comes to people like you. Mental illness needs to be discussed more and it needs to be understood and if anyone knows how to make that happen, it’s April Mendez.
Even if you’re not a fan of wrestling and have no idea who AJ is, this book is definitely worth a read, it’s a rags to riches story the likes of which have never been told. It’s compelling from beginning to end. It tells the story of April Mendez, the woman behind AJ Lee, the one that was hidden from the world, in plain sight just trying to cope in a world where she didn’t ever feel that she would be accepted.